- Police June 2022 Secret Report Reveals: Over R400, 000.00 Public Monies Disappeared At Pension Funds
- Greeting Message To The Cuban People On The Occasion Of The 26th Of July, Date Of The Attack On The Moncada Barracks
- The US 'investigation' into Abu Akleh's killing tells us that Israeli impunity is a priority
- Russia to Symmetrically Respond to Finland, Sweden, and NATO
- Nicaragua Revokes Assent for New US Ambassador Entering Country
- The Hundred Year War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017
- Benin Marks Macron Visit By Releasing 30 Jailed Opposition Politicians
- President Maduro Warns of New Threats From Colombia
- Lufthansa Workers Strike over Wages
- Sri Lankan Masses Remain in the Streets, despite New President and Military Raids
- Cuba's Rebellion Day Honors the M26 Fighters and Their Legacy
Police June 2022 Secret Report Reveals: Over R400, 000.00 Public Monies Disappeared At Pension Fund
Tuesday, 26th July, 2022
By Zweli Martin Dlamini
MBABANE:Bhekithemba Mamba, the Benefits Manager at the Public Service Pension Fund(PSPF) reported to the police after the disappearance of over four hundred thousand Rands(R400,000.00)within the public entity.
This is contained in a bundle of police secret State documents that expose sabotaged reported fraud cases involving high profile people with alleged links to Mswati.
An independent investigation conducted by this Swaziland News uncovered that on or around 30th June 2022, Bhekithemba Mamba, the Benefits Manager within the Public Service Pension Fund(PSPF) reported the disappearance of a collective amount of R415,857.65, the names of the suspects were provided but the police Executive Command systematically sabotaged the investigations.
It has been disclosed that under normal circumstances, when a case of fraud is reported, it is immediately handed over to the Police Fraud Department, however, cases of alleged fraud and corruption within the Pension Fund are scrutinized by senior police officers to ascertain if those involved are not closer to the King.
A questionnaire was sent to Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, the Police Spokesperson, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Sibongile Mazibuko, a member of the Swaziland Pensioners Association(SPA) Board of Trustees said looting has become a culture in eSwatini.
“It has become a norm for high profile people entrusted with public funds, those who loot and share the money with the King are not arrested. Millions have disappeared at the Pension Fund and other entities, only those who loot for themselves get arrested,”she said.
Reached for comments on Tuesday morning, Elkan Makhanya, the Pension Fund Spokesperson asked for more time to consult and verify the information with the relevant officers, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
“Morning Zweli, am currently in a meeting. May I come back to you before close of business today(Tuesday).I will need to verify this information with the relevant officers,” said the Pension Fund Spokesperson.
Reached for comments, Mduduzi 'Magawugawu' Simelane, the President of the Swaziland Liberation Movement(SWALIMO) said only those who did not know what happened during the time of Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini, the then Pension Fund CEO could be taken by surprise.
“That institution is a milking cow for the regime and its elites, Comrade NNLC President long raised the alarm. Only the Nation can save their money in that institution. Let us stand up together, the country is burning in official corruption,” said the SWALIMO President.
Greeting Message To The Cuban People On The Occasion Of The 26th Of July, Date Of The Attack On The Moncada Barracks
25 July 2022
The World Federation of Trade Unions, the militant voice of 105 million workers who struggle through hundreds of class unions in 133 countries on 5 continents, salutes the historic and heroic anniversary of 26 July marked by the attack on the Moncada barracks.
The triumph of the revolution remained a lighthouse of hope and optimism for millions of workers groaning beneath capitalist brutality. The 63-year of socialist construction in Cuba is the living proof that another world, another society is possible. We salute the sacred achievements of socialist Cuba, which offers its people dignity and manages to lead the way in various fields, despite adversity and the unacceptable ongoing embargo.
Cuba spends more than 70% of the state budget on social needs and social services, while more than 50% of the budget expenditure is spent on education and health. The people of Cuba enjoy one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with many ‘’firsts’’, including being declared by the WHO as the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV (AIDS).
The Pandemic which affected the whole world and brought even the most powerful states on earth to their knees, underlines and the moral superiority of socialism. At the same time that EU countries, and even US states, were hiding – and in some cases stealing – medical equipment from each other, it was Cuba that was sending supplies and doctors to other countries, expressing its unconditional solidarity.
The World Federation of Trade Unions has always stood firmly by the side of heroic Cuba at all stages and milestones of the Cuban Revolution. The WFTU unequivocally condemns the current suffocating embargo and the interventionist maneuvers of the USA since the beginning of the socialist construction, as well as the constant attacks and hysteria of the imperialists against the right of a people to possess the wealth it produces.
The international class-oriented trade union movement expresses its full international solidarity with the Cuban Workers’ Central, the workers, and the people of Cuba, who by their example inspire workers all over the world and shed light on their struggle for a society free of poverty, wars and exploitation. Heroic Cuba has overcome all adversities, difficulties, and attacks over the years and will continue to resist, will continue to promote peace, brotherhood, and solidarity among the peoples and workers of the world. The Cuban people, who triumphed against Batista’s forces, crushed the American invaders, withstood the shocks created by the counter-revolutionary revolts of the 1990s, continue to resist heroically and stand up against the imperialist embargo. But also resists all kinds of provocations organized by foreign imperialist circles with the aim of undermining the revolutionary choice of the Cuban people.
The WFTU and its millions of workers join their voice with Cuba, demanding an immediate and unconditional end to the embargo and the return of Guantanamo to the Cuban people. We are optimistic that, armed with an unshakable faith in the ideas and principles and sacred gains of the Revolution and with the firm support of the internationalist solidarity of the international class-oriented trade union movement, the working class of Cuba will meet the contemporary challenges and attacks by continuing uninterruptedly the great march towards dignity.
LONG LIVE THE CUBAN SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONALIST SOLIDARITY!
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE
WFTU General Secretay
The US 'investigation' into Abu Akleh's killing tells us that Israeli impunity is a priority
28 July 2022
The developments in the "investigation" into the targeted killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh point rather too obviously to the preservation of Israel's ability to act with impunity. Matters went downhill in the aftermath of Abu Akleh's killing when Israeli military spokesman Ran Kochav put forward an ugly and false equivalence between the Israel Defence Forces and Palestinian journalists: "They're armed with cameras, if you'll permit me to say so."
After the Palestinian Authority agreed to hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh for a supposedly independent ballistic analysis supervised by the US, the results were "inconclusive", as reported by State Department Spokesman Ned Price. "We will remain engaged with Israel and the PA on next steps and urge accountability," he added. "We again offer our deepest condolences to the Abu Akleh family."
So engrossed is the US in establishing accountability, that not even a brief meeting with Abu Akleh's relatives was on US President Joe Biden's agenda when he visited Israel and the occupied West Bank earlier this month. This dismissive approach prompted her relatives to seek a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, which met with even more contempt from administration officials. The meeting, Price stated, would provide "the secretary an opportunity to convey messages to them – it will be a message of condolence, there will be a message of the priority we attach to accountability going forward." Although dialogue with the family members was mentioned, it is clear that the agenda led by the US State Department has nothing to do with establishing channels of communication. If the US really was serious in its commitment to accountability, Abu Akleh's family would not have needed to initiate further contact with US diplomats. If human rights were truly upheld and universal, they would not have to beg for justice in Washington.
The family is exhibiting greater awareness, stating that its mission for justice is not merely for Abu Akleh, but also an attempt to shield other Palestinians from going through a similar ordeal. The recognition that Abu Akleh's family gives in this regard is commendable, and speaks more of human rights than diplomats or sensationalised media reports ever do. It conveys an acknowledgement – one that has been experienced directly – of Israel's targeted killings of Palestinian civilians, and goes a step further in asserting the Palestinian narrative through referring to the bigger picture of Israel's colonial violence.
Blinken's tweet summarises the US nonchalance. Surely, Abu Akleh's relatives have not embarked on such a journey to listen to statements that are so repetitive one could find them on a commercial condolence card, albeit minus the "tragic killing", or targeted assassination, part. Shireen's niece, Lina Abu Akleh, has called for a process of accountability which includes both the soldier who pulled the trigger and the officer who issued the order. However, there is no remorse from officials towards a dual national with US citizenship who was killed by Israel. Her US citizenship is only being exploited to elaborate the diplomatic statements published by the State Department.
Shielding Israel, however, remains a priority for the US, which continues to give billions of dollars in military aid to help the settler-colonial enterprise oppress Palestinian civilians who may, like Shireen Abu Akleh, also find themselves the subject of a targeted killing. How many more must lose their lives before someone in Washington wakes up to the fact that supporting a rogue state like Israel is simply unacceptable for any country claiming to be a democracy?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.
Russia to Symmetrically Respond to Finland, Sweden, and NATO
28 July 2022
The Russian government has again assured that it will respond symmetrically to NATO's military buildup in Finland and Sweden after they accede to the bloc.
"Our responses will be symmetrical to these steps...Russia's reaction to these events will be necessary and sufficient; I am sure that we will be able to protect our interests, protect the interests of our country, ensure its security, the security of our citizens with the necessary means," assured Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.
The Russian representative said that Moscow is ready to cope with the military presence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Finland and Sweden after the two countries accede to the bloc.
As for the possible provocations of these two NATO candidates, he made it clear that Finland and Sweden can choose different routes of advancement within the Alliance framework and decide to create bases on their territories and station offensive weapons.
According to the former Russian president, the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO would only make the situation in the region more challenging "in terms of ensuring security for all." Moreover, Medvedev said that, in his opinion, such a measure would deteriorate security in the Baltic region and turn it into a "sea dominated by NATO."
In this regard, he emphasized that the accession of these countries will also affect their diplomatic relations with Moscow. "Relations with neutral Sweden will also be reviewed," he said.
In the meantime, at the end of last June, NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance, which was confirmed by a statement issued by NATO heads of state and government.
At the same time, the Kremlin warns Finland and Sweden that joining NATO will not strengthen their security and calls the decision "another serious mistake that will have far-reaching consequences."
Nicaragua Revokes Assent for New US Ambassador Entering Country
28 July 2022
The government of Nicaragua withdrew Thursday its approval for the entry of the new U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, Hugo Rodriguez, whom it accused of issuing "interfering and disrespectful" statements against the country.
"The Government of Nicaragua, in use of its faculties and in exercise of its national sovereignty, immediately withdraws the plácet granted to candidate Hugo Rodríguez," announced Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada in a press release.
The Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that every diplomat has the duty to contribute to respect and understanding among peoples.
In his meeting with the media, Moncada said that the communication was sent to the U.S. State Department through its ambassador to the White House, Francisco Campbell.
It was also delivered to the U.S. Ambassador in Managua, Kevin Sullivan.
The Hundred Year War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017
24 July 2022
With the writing of “The Hundred Year War on Palestine – A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017″, Rashid Khalidi has created an interesting well-written overview of the Zionist colonial-settler enterprise in Palestine. One of the underlying features of the creation of Israel is how well it fits into the colonial-settler mindset that established the current Five Eyes scenario of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia within the global influence of the British empire. The indigenous people of each of those regions were effectively done away with, labelled “savages” and “uncivilized”, beneath contempt, and essentially to be eliminated through various means of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
In Palestine, those attempts at ethnic cleansing, a necessity for the Zionists in regard to their demographic fears of majority Arab/Palestinian population, came up against the post-WWII decolonization movements rising from the liberal rhetoric of the western powers and the Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union. It also came up against the will of the indigenous people, the Palestinians, who “have shown unusual patience, perseverance, and steadfastness in defending their rights, which is the main reason that their cause I still alive.”
While looking at the “Hundred Years’ War”, Khalidi divides it into six “declarations of war” as a means of highlighting the different eras and approaches to the Palestinian struggle: the Balfour pre-WWII era; the nakba; the 1967 war; Beirut; the first intifada; and the second intifada leading into the “war on terror”.
Several threads through Khalidi’s writing make it highly informative, accessible, and powerful in its honest forthright approach. The latter stands out significantly. While recognizing that targeted assassinations, imprisonment, and exile have eliminated many Palestinian leaders, he does not avoid criticizing past and current leaders for the mistakes they have made both with their internal divisions and with their conduct in relation to the rest of the world. The PLO/PA have lost all integrity and Khalidi highlights the path of that loss.
Another aspect creating an accessible read is Khalidi’s ties into the personal information of his own life lived within and on the edges of the ongoing war on Palestine. This came through most particularly with his descriptions of the Beirut invasion and the political and social aftermath not just in Palestine/Lebanon but in the greater region and globally.
The latter element rounds out the history. For each declaration of war, the war is discussed briefly and then branches off into all the ramifications of that era both domestically and geopolitically abroad, highlighting of course US involvement but also the timid fearful attitudes of the Arab states, none of them democracies and all of the governments intimidated not only by Israeli power, but also the ongoing threats and coercion from the US and its subordinate allies.
As I have found with most history books, the timeline at the end is tricky. Khalidi essentially sees Palestine as down and out – other than the quote above on steadfastness – with the final touches of Trump’s obsequious actions eliminating several of the long-argued narratives, settling them definitively and unilaterally in Israel’s favor.
Yet two years after publication, there is hope that at least on the international scene, many more people, if not their governments, are aware of Israeli atrocities and crimes against human rights. In spite of – and in some views because of – Israel’s hasbara attempts, much more knowledge of how Israel is actually treating the indigenous Palestinian population has become known. The BDS movement, the arguments concerning the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and the declarations by B’Tselem, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch declaring Israel an apartheid state have all contributed to an increasing knowledge base about events in Palestine.
Perhaps more importantly, events in Ukraine/Russia and the broader implications of not just the actual war, but the tendency of many other countries in the world not to side with US/NATO while looking into and adhering to alternate global financial and political arrangements may have large effects on the Middle East in general and maybe then into Israel. Khalidi recognizes that the US “will not necessarily maintain the near monopoly over the Palestine question, and indeed over the entire Middle East, that it has enjoyed for so long.”
Regardless of either the knowledge gained from recent civilian actions or the influence of the larger geopolitical effects of the Ukraine/US/Russia war the path forward will require and undoubtedly will sustain the “unusual patience, perseverance, and steadfastness in defending their rights” of the Palestinian people themselves.
“The Hundred Year War on Palestine – A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017” is a valuable and timely addition to the Palestinian narrative. It provides an over-arching view of this one particular instance of colonial-settlerism that has significantly influenced global geopolitics for the past century and will continue to do so moving forward.
Benin Marks Macron Visit By Releasing 30 Jailed Opposition Politicians
28 July 2022
This week's visit to Benin by French President Emmanuel Macron was marked by the release of 30 opposition figures, imprisoned during the April 2021 election campaign. Macron's host, President Patrice Talon, comfortably won that election, from which the vast majority of opposition candidates were barred.
The 30 men were freed during the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Benin was long praised for its vibrant multi-party democracy, but critics say freedoms have been eroded under Talon, a 64-year-old cotton magnate, first elected in 2016.
The special court for economic and terrorist crimes, known as Criet, freed 30 people who were arrested during the election, placing them under temporary judicial supervision.
Among those freed were leaders and youth activists of the opposition Democrats party, the party itself has confirmed.
'There are no political detainees in Benin'
The announcement came hours after Talon dismissed suggestions that his government was holding political prisoners after the jailing last year of two top opposition leaders.
"In Benin, there are no political detainees, no one is detained in Benin for their political opinion," Talon said, answering questions from journalists with Macron at his side.
"But people are detained for having acted, for having committed offenses and crimes in the political field, that is true," Talon continued.
Macron did not mention the political situation in Benin during his speech.
Talon said it was possible that an amnesty or pardon may be given to detained opposition figures.
"We have to be able to adjust the political situation so that it gives a good image, favourable to economic development," Talon said.
"Our image is a little tarnished by the political situation that Benin has experienced lately. I am not ashamed of that."
Doubts about special court decisions
Benin opposition leader Reckya Madougou was sentenced in December to 20 years in prison for terrorism by a special court in the capital Porto-Novo after a brief trial that her attorneys condemned as a "political attack".
Madougou was one of several Benin opposition leaders banned from running in last year's election in April in which Talon won a second term with 86 percent of the vote.
A former justice minister, she was arrested in Cotonou in March -- just weeks before the election. She was accused of financing an operation to assassinate political figures to prevent the vote and of trying to "destabilise" the country.
Another opposition leader, Joel Aivo, a professor who had been held for eight months, was also found guilty last year of plotting against the state and of money laundering.
Aivo was also barred from running in the election.
Both were tried by the special court dealing with terrorism and economic crimes. Critics say the court, created by Talon's government in 2016, has been used to crack down on political opponents.
President Maduro Warns of New Threats From Colombia
27 July 2022
"The Bolivarian Revolution has formed a powerful combative and patriotic morale in the Bolivarian National Armed Forces," the Venezuelan leader stressed.
On Tuesday, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro urged the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) to remain vigilant in the face of terrorist threats orchestrated by Colombian elites.
At the change of command ceremony of the Bolivarian Navy and Aviation, he warned that the Colombian far-right is plotting along with some Venezuelan terrorists to destabilize the Bolivarian government.
“The entire intelligence, counterintelligence and security police system must remain on alert because everything we do is done for the right to peace, happiness, tranquility, and prosperity in these times of economic growth that our beloved Venezuela is experiencing,” Maduro said.
"We renew and ratify the leadership of the Integral Defense Regions. These command structures must be increasingly integrated and articulated, deploying a thousand eyes and ears over the territory, space, sea, and rivers," Maduro highlighted on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the meeting between the liberator Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin.
For its part, the FARB stressed that the commemoration takes place to tell San Martin and Bolivar that the Venezuelan people and the Armed Forces are standing and united, "fighting for the future they dreamed of."
During his speech, the Venezuelan president also highlighted the transformations that have occurred in his country's armed forces over the last decades.
"The Bolivarian Revolution has formed a powerful combative and patriotic morale in the Bolivarian National Armed Forces," he stressed.
Lufthansa Workers Strike over Wages
27 July 2022
Today, ground workers for the German airline Lufthansa are striking for wage increases and better working conditions. On Tuesday, a similar strike took place at the airport in Lyon, France.
The ver.di union, one of the unions representing workers at the German airline Lufthansa, has called for a new strike on Wednesday, July 27, to demand a 9.5-percent wage increase to address inflation. The strike affects ground workers in maintenance and towing.
“The situation at airports is degenerating and employees are increasingly under pressure and overworked due to severe understaffing, high inflation, and no raise for three years,” Christine Behl, a ver.di leader, told AFP. This flows from a shortfall of 7,000 employees in Germany’s aviation sector, the result of precarious jobs marked by low wages, along with the significant number of jobs lost during the pandemic.
In a press release addressed to passengers, the union explains, “We want a functioning air traffic without stress and strain for our passengers and employees. Lufthansa has cut too many staff during the pandemic.” The statement noted that the union was engaged in collective bargaining, but that Lufthansa had thus far “refused to invest in sufficient staff and thus in smoother air traffic.”
Storm of Anger among Airline Workers in Germany and France
The mobilization at Lufthansa follows a summer of anger in the airline industry as inflation increases and air travel resumes after the pandemic. In France, unionized ground staff at Lyon’s Saint-Exupéry airport held a two-hour strike mobilization.
These are not the only mobilizations. In recent weeks, workers at Ryanair, Easyjet, Brussels Airlines (a Lufthansa subsidiary), British Airlines, as well as workers employed by the airports themselves in Paris and Brussels, have all held demonstrations that have caused the cancellation of several thousand flights. Lufthansa has been forced to cancel some 6,000 flights in recent weeks, and many more will be canceled as a result of today’s strike by ver.di.
Aviation sector employers have been putting pressure on workers for several years now, with wage freezes, layoffs, insufficient staffing, and difficult working conditions — which even led to the death of an employee at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris in early July. All this is part of an explosive cocktail that is at the root of the wave of strikes affecting airports across the continent.
Three Weeks of Historic Mobilization in Panama Against Inflation and Inequality
26 July 2022
Panama has been paralyzed by major demonstrations, roadblocks, occupations, and strikes in several sectors. The uprising is rooted in rising prices, corruption, and inequality that has grown since the beginning of the pandemic.
For three weeks now, protests have been gradually spreading throughout Panama. Price increases, along with growing inequality over the past several years, has triggered one of the largest mobilizations the country has seen in several decades. The movement began with a major strike in the education sector, which is now spearheading the mobilization. It was joined soon thereafter by the powerful construction union, social organizations, Indigenous groups, and other working-class and poor sectors, and even by some in the middle class.
This large-scale mobilization opposes the government of President Laurentino Cortizo, which since 2019 has been trying to implement policies favored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Panamanian bourgeoisie. Radical actions have been a hallmark of the movement. Many roads have been blocked, including the Pan-American Highway, a crucial part of Central America’s infrastructure on which huge volumes of goods travel every day. The blockades have also led to significant shortages, particularly in Panama City, the capital.
The government has deployed a host of repressive forces across the country to confront the situation.
A Dollarized Country Hit by the Covid Crisis and Inflation
Panama, a neoliberal country that was invaded by the United States in 1989, has a dollarized economy and has undergone significant growth thanks to revenues from the Panama Canal and the country’s service industry.1 Its economy, though, slowed beginning in 2020 due to Covid-19. While growth has resumed, it has benefited only the population’s wealthiest people, while the working class, Indigenous people, and Panama’s peasants have become poorer.
Hand in hand with the IMF, the government has carried out major attacks on workers, with huge increases in layoffs and a drastic reduction in living standards. Back in 2015, an official report produced by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) revealed that 10 percent of Panama’s wealthiest families in Panama had incomes 37.3 times greater than the poorest 10 percent. It is these deep inequalities, combined with rising prices, that have triggered the current movement.
No to Social Dialogue. Build the Movement’s Power
The political crisis this movement has opened up is forcing the government to negotiate with many organizations, including the National Alliance for the Rights of the Organized People (ANADEPO), the United Popular Alliance for Life, political leaders of the Indigenous regions, and the peasant community. These groups’ main demands are for a reduction and freezing of fuel prices and energy, price rollbacks of food staples by up to 30 percent without adversely affecting producers, lower prices for medicines, an allocation of 6 percent of the country’s GDP to education, creation of an inter-sectoral monitoring committee to resolve the problems of corruption, among others.
Negotiations with the government began on Thursday, July 21, but as of this writing have failed to calm the strikes and mobilizations. The government has agreed to undertake some measures, such as lowering fuel prices and cutting the price of basic foods by 15 percent, a 15-percent reduction on basic food products, but this does not meet the full demands of the current movement.
What is clear is that the government is playing the social dialogue card as a way to calm the situation. Meanwhile, Panama’s workers have proven once again that they have the power to shut down the government and win some victories — just as the movement’s political and trade union leaderships have chosen to lower the intensity of the mobilizations and strikes as the negotiations take place. In contrast to this approach, the path to victory is to turn the mobilizations into a general strike to ensure that workers and the poor do not pay for the current crisis. That is the perspective we must champion!
The uprising in Panama is now added to the growing number of mobilizations we are seeing on five continents. Faced with widespread inflation, the Americas have been a key part of this movement, with recent mobilizations in Ecuador and a major strike at one of Mexico’s largest companies, TELMEX.
First published in French on July 25 in Révolution Permanente.
Sri Lankan Masses Remain in the Streets, despite New President and Military Raids
23 July 2022
The mass movement in Sri Lanka has rejected a new prime minister and president, and the state’s response is to raid protest camps and arrest movement leaders. Workers around the world must continue to show solidarity with Sri Lankans and their uprising against austerity.
Sri Lankans continue to fight in the streets against austerity, even as the state cracks down on protests, using cops and the military. Following the people’s overthrow of the country’s leaders parliament has appointed Dinesh Gunawardena as prime minister and Ranil Wickremesinghe as president. The movement opposes both men.
Wickremesinghe, the new president, has already overseen the Sri Lankan state as prime minister six different times — and the movement understands him as one of officials largely to blame for the economic crisis Sri Lankans face. These new leaders represent the corrupt political caste that protesters have been mobilizing against. Protesters know they won’t be solving the crises afflicting the working class and poor.
Al-Jazeera reports that protesters rallied in the capital city of Colombo after parliament voted to confirm Wickremesinghe. Students are at the forefront of the protests, and they intend to keep opposition in the streets. As one student leader said, the president “is not new to us” and “the people’s mandate is in the streets.”
On the morning of July 22, the state unleashed military raids on protest camps. Soldiers destroyed tents and arrested several protest leaders. At this writing, the movement’s response to the severe repression is unclear, but the rejection of the new administrators of the state and the massive support for street protests means that the uprising is likely far from defeated.
The eruption of class struggle in Sri Lanka is the result of a historic economic crisis years in the making. The economic policies of the ruling class bankrupted the import-dependent country, and the government hasno foreign reserves with which to make essential purchases.So, Sri Lankans have spent months enduring power cuts while schools and hospitals close down or greatly limit their capacity. In the midst of all this, Sri Lanka’s ruling class pursues an IMF bailout that will impose even greater austerity.
The movement in Sri Lanka is part ofa larger, international phenomenon of strikes and uprisings against austerity — with workers and oppressed people fighting back as well in Argentina, Ecuador, and Ghana, to name just a few. This is unfolding as the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine fuel an economic crisis for which the capitalists are making workers pay. In Global South countries, Western imperialism — often through the IMF — subjects workers and oppressed communities to especially terrible conditions, depriving them of food, fuel, and other basic needs.
But it is not just in the Global South that people are resisting. Strikes are surging in Europe in opposition to austerity and rearmament. Meanwhile, a unionization wave continues throughout the United States. Class struggle is growing globally.
The uprising in Sri Lanka is one of the most advanced rebellions against austerity taking place right now. It should come as no surprise that the state is using violence as it tries to put an end to the mobilizations in the streets — repression that will likely become even more severe. The masses in Colombo and other cities throughout the country are providing a powerful example of the role workers and oppressed communities must play to fight the economic crisis capitalism has imposed on us, no matter where we are in the world. Like the people of Sri Lanka, with whom we must continue to show solidarity, all of us should be in the streets and fighting in our workplaces.
Cuba's Rebellion Day Honors the M26 Fighters and Their Legacy
26 July 2022
The assaults on the Moncada and Cespedes barracks in 1953 announced to the world the existence of a new generation of Cubans willing to fight for the dignity of their nation.
Every July 26, Cubans celebrate the "National Rebellion Day" and remember the assaults on the Moncada and Cespedes barracks in 1953, when a group of young people led by Fidel Castro carried out armed actions against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
"In the early hours of Sunday, July 26, 1953, during the noisy carnival in Santiago City, 131 young combatants, boarded in 16 cars, dressed in Army uniforms, and led by Fidel Castro, assaulted the Moncada Barracks," the Cuban writer Pedro Rioseco recalled.
"On that same day and at the same time, 28 revolutionaries assaulted the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks in Bayamo... The objective of both actions was to unleash an armed struggle against the dictatorship. They sought to confront the political crisis and the very serious existing social problems."
Fidel Castro wanted to take advantage of the massive presence of tourists who came to the Santiago carnival to go unnoticed and take over the barracks while the soldiers slept. The element of surprise, however, did not work.
"The fight began outside the barracks and was prolonged in a positional battle, in which the soldiers prevailed. Fidel ordered the withdrawal," Rioseco recounted, adding that "except for a few combatants who were able to escape helped by the people, most of the rebels were captured and most of them killed in the following days."
Although the insurgent operations of July 26 were a military failure, they did not go unnoticed by all citizens who confirmed that a whole new generation of Cubans was willing to resume the libertarian path that Jose Marti, the poet who died in combat, began decades ago.
A few years later, Fidel and the survivors of the attacks on the barracks formed the July 26 Movement (M26), which carried out a guerrilla war from the Sierra Maestra and defeated the dictatorship on January 1, 1959.
"Do not be discouraged by any setback or difficulty! This has been not only the teaching of July 26 but also the teaching of our entire history: from Cespedes, Maximo Gomez and Agramonte to Marti and Maceo," lawmaker Martha Valenciano stressed. Reference
Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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